Who’s the Cake Boss?

I love to bake. I make a cake almost every Sunday. And not to brag (except I’m totally bragging here), but I make very yummy cakes. Like this one or this one. Delicious. They’re just not always very pretty to look at. When I bake, I care more about taste than appearance. That’s why I leave all the birthday cake decorating to my husband.

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Although he’s never taken a class, my husband’s cakes are pretty impressive.

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My kids know they can come up with any idea and he will make it happen.

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His son wants a unicorn cake? No problem.

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A Homestar Runner cake that starts a bidding war at the cub scout cake auction? Check.

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A ghastly Daddy Warbucks cake for my Annie-themed birthday party? Yes, he stored a head in the freezer.

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He even made my oldest son’s dream of a Christopher Walken cake come true.

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Every year. Every kid. Every birthday. Even in grad school when he had no extra time to spare. Because he broke his back years ago, standing for long periods of time with his arms outstretched can put him in a lot of pain. But he still does it, and I’m no help at all.

One year my husband was busy studying for his pre-dissertation qualifying exams so I stepped in and decorated our two-year-old’s cake. Kind of sad.

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And then when he turned 13, the same kid had to have a quick “cake” I threw together by tossing mint chocolate chip ice cream in a pan and plopping mint chocolate cookies on top. It tasted good but it was pretty ugly.

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Since it was my husband’s birthday this week, I decided to make cake decorating my next challenge. I found an idea on Pinterest that didn’t look too complicated.

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All I would need was a 9×13 cake, black and white fondant, and some sugar paper letters. So simple. But then I made the cake and it sat there a full extra day waiting for me to work up the nerve and the energy to decorate it.

I tried to make the darker grey color by mixing 3 parts black with one part white but it still looked black. Then I added another white part. Still black. Consider this a warning – a little bit of black fondant goes a long way.

Another problem – when I used powdered sugar to roll out the fondant, it left the black looking really dusty and the fondant kind of dry and crusty to work with.

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And I had a lot of trouble with seams. I totally should not have tried to add the border here.

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Also, when I added the lettering, I was getting tired and didn’t really plan the spacing ahead of time so I found myself just adding random words or exclamation points. It doesn’t even make sense. “Jeremy’s 41 Classic Mix of Awesome”? It sounds like one of those spam emails asking for a bank transfer to Nigeria. Plus my efforts to get rid of the powdered sugar dustiness left the whole cake looking a bit slimy.

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Not quite worthy of Cake Wrecks  until you look more closely:

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Pretty much awful. But when you look at it from far away by candlelight, it almost works. Holy cow, that’s a lot of candles.

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So I think we’ll leave the cake decorating in his more capable hands from now on, but at least I won’t have to feel guilty for not even trying to be helpful. And for his next birthday, I’ll just make him a Texas sheet cake. That’s all he really wants anyway.

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